Back in the USSR?
‘Putin is recreating the Soviet Union as he thinks it should have been,’ says Natan Sharansky’s former Hebrew teacher, ‘without the anti-Semitism.’ ‘I don’t know where Russia would be without him,’ says the Chabad chief rabbi. ‘For the Jews, it’s a miracle’
…And where does Putin fit in to all this? “I believe he brought a lot of change [for the Jewish community and its well-being]. Gorbachev and [first Russian Federation president Boris] Yeltsin changed a lot, but Putin really came out and tackled anti-Semitism. Under Yeltsin [1991-99], if there were anti-Semitic incidents, he said, Ignore it, it will go away. Putin confronted it, head-on. His message is, Don’t harm the Jews. You’ll be arrested and punished. A young boy came into the shul with a knife. He was 17-18. He was jailed for sixteen years.
Being a conservative American used to seeing Russians as the bad guys in movies (they still make very good bad guys) I must admit a certain knee-jerk negative reaction to the idea of relocating to Russia. But things are really improving. The crime and disorder of the 1990s has been replaced by civil order and respect for the law. Russia is becoming a very positive place for business with a low corporate tax rate. There is lots of room for improvement, no doubt, but Russia is going in the right direction. I wish we could say the same for the USSA.
What do you guys think?